Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Unofficial Group Commute North - Updated

On the upcoming Monday May 29th, the City of Toronto will be hosting the Group Commute event where hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people gather at selected locations around the city, then commute together to downtown. This sounds like a lot of fun. I wish my destination was near downtown so I could join in.

For anyone who lives somewhere in central/north Toronto and commutes to the business centre north-east of the city near Highway 7 and Leslie, I'd like to invite you to join me in my Unofficial Group Commute North. This is in no way a city sanctioned official bike week event. We'll just be a group of independent cyclists enjoying a bike ride in the morning.

The ride will start at the corner of Yonge and Lawrence at 7:30 AM (May 29th). This is the same time and location as the official ride to downtown, so you'll be able to get pumped with the excitement of seeing so many people ready to ride their bikes. We will gather on the north-east corner, the other side of Yonge Street.

We'll ride north on Yonge until we get to the 401. We'll cut through a path taking us to Sheppard and Willowdale. We'll continue on comfortable and direct streets like Willowdale, Henderson, John St, and Green Lane.

The final destination will be the north-west corner of Highway 7 and Leslie, where there is a bench and some grass in front of the Times Square shopping centre.

This is the route I plan to use.

Here are some time estimates if you'd like to join up somewhere along the way:
7:30 - Yonge and Lawrence
7:48 - Sheppard and Willowdale
7:54 - Willowdale and Bishop
7:56 - Maxome and Cummer
8:00 - Steeles and Maxome/Henderson
8:06 - John St and Henderson
8:09 - John St and Bayview
8:18 - Green Lane and Leslie
8:30 - Leslie and Highway 7
(if you wait somewhere, please be patient since I want everyone to travel at a comfortable speed)

What do I have to offer? Well, I can't make pancakes, but I promise to provide some donuts. We'll relax and eat when we get to Highway 7 and Leslie. If there's any interest I'll pick up some meat-filled Chinese buns from a nearby bakery at the end of the ride.

If you think you'll join me, please send me an email so I can look out for you. Whether you work somewhere near Highway 7 and Leslie, or you just want to go for a morning ride in the suburbs, you're welcome to join in.

Please keep in mind that you'll need to ride on Yonge Street and Leslie for short distances. Since I can't look out for you, make sure you are at least comfortable enough with your cycling skills to take care of yourself on these busy streets. All I can do is promise not to leave anyone behind. I don't in any way intend to sound heartless, I just don't want anyone to come out expecting a police escort or some other professional care. Everyone must take care of themselves, which is advice I would recommend for any group ride.

I'll be wearing a yellow jacket and a light blue helmet, and the back of my bike will have blue-green panniers and a box of donuts. Hope to see you there!

UPDATE: The Northbound commute grows! You can start riding North from Yonge and Davisville at 7:00 AM with Blake.

Darren J 5/24/2006 07:36:00 AM

7 Comments:

Darren, you're awesome. If I remember to post about the group rides later this week, I'll link to this post.
Hey Darren, I'll post it too, or if you like you can also create it as an open event for people. Or even if you look at the ridematching perhaps you can find people in similar postal codes who could be emailed to see if they are interested in your ride.

I wish you the best! As for me I'll be working at the Group Commute downtown.

Herb.
Thanks guys!

I've been watching on Cycling Cog for anyone with a similar commute, but haven't seen anyone yet. So I'll see how this goes.
Darren,
I'm a writer looking to talk to cyclists in York region. Could you drop me a line, please?
swilloughby@yrng.com
Darren, can you give details on the path cutting from Yonge/401 to Sheppard and Willowdale? I would love to know how to do this, because there are so few "good" ways to get from one side of the 401 to another on a bike.
You can have a look at this post from last fall:

http://bikerefugee.blogspot.com/2005/10/how-to-yonge-st-and-hwy-401-by-bike.html

I drew a route on a map. If any of it doesn't make sense, let me know.

Basically the path runs under the 401 just east of Yonge, sort of in between the on ramps. If you're northbound, you can approach either from Yonge or from the residential streets south east of there.
Here's the link to the 401 post (for real this time!).

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